Sunday, July 6, 2008
"Aren't you gonna play?!" NO.
‘Tis the season of picnics, and that’s a wonderful thing. However. It does come with its downside.
The cooking aspect I don’t mind at all; I love to cook and prepare new dishes, and the summer potlucks are an excellent forum in which to be creative. Picnickers are hungry but honest. You’ll know in an instant if you have a hit, and will be equally certain if you’ve fallen flat (the container you brought will still be full come picnic’s end).
I love the outdoors, so that’s great too. I’m not one of those people who hate to sit outside, or won’t be seen without shoes on; I don’t suffer from misophobia (fear of dirt or being contaminated by dirt), and although I despise most flying insects, I’m always stocked with various Deet products to fend them off.
No, the food’s fine, the outdoors are good. It’s the sports—those dastardly sports. Or, perhaps I should rephrase that: it’s not the sports, but the sporty, coordinated people who insist on everyone’s participation in whatever senseless game is being played. I’m not a sports person. I love watching most of them, will root for the Stillers and Pens and even the Pirates in a pinch. I have a very basic understanding of popular professional games, and I’m quite happy to observe many sporting events.
But to play a sport? Look, I’m not competitive, not about that anyway. And I'm a klutz to boot. I’ve always been. I mastered walking after much practice, and it’s been pretty much downhill since. Middle and high school activities forced me into band membership, and although I did enjoy it and still love music, I have to admit that it was partly my sports illiteracy that kept me there. Even marching was a challenge, not because I lack rhythm, but because I am graceless—discord in motion. I was always in step, though!
And now that it’s picnic season, I’ll be silently dreading the end of each meal, the first eager calls of “Who’s up for some softball?” God forbid they be a competitive crowd; that’s the kiss of death for me. I used to feel slightly ill before attending a yearly 4th of July picnic because I knew how fiercely the other attendees would square off in the volleyball games. I’d rather have been on the “fat guys” team (yes, they had one) than have to serve that @#*! ball and not reach the net. Again. (I haven’t been to that gathering for some time… Wonder if they’ve mellowed with age, or if they still spike that ball at people’s faces?)
So, I’ll be enjoying the great outdoors with the rest of you in these next few weeks—we've already picnicked a few times, in fact. And each time I’ve tossed my paper plate in the trash, I’ll be hoping against hope that this year, instead of a bag of balls and bats and nets and racquets, someone will uncover a pile of books or sketch pads. It could happen. Right?